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Thread: Portable Bluetooth/Wired Speakers

  1. #1

    Portable Bluetooth/Wired Speakers

    Hi all,
    next year, my wife & I will be spending about 24 days in Ireland, visiting family. Rather than killing ourselves traveling around, we’ve rented a place in Dingle (on the west coast), and family will come & stay with us.

    because of the length of time and being stationary, I want to buy a reasonably portable speaker that can be connected either via 3.5” minijack or bluetooth. I want something that sounds better than the $100-$150 small ones I’ve used for short trips.

    can anyone recommend a good quality, portable speaker (larger than those cheaper ones is ok, but it must be packable in a suitcase with everything else) for up to about $500 (CAD)? There are so many options and I can’t try them, so am hoping some people here have experience with this. Looking for the best sound for the buck, ideally as neutral and unprocessed as possible.

    Thanks, in advance, for any help y’all can provide!
    J
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  2. #2
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    To me "Bluetooth speaker" = portable, low-fidelity, convenient.

    For portable high fidelity I'd always opt for headphones.

  3. #3
    Proud Member since 2/2002 UnderAGlassMoon's Avatar
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    This is what I have and I love it. Great sound and battery life. Not sure if it is small enough for you, however.

    http://https://www.bose.com/en_us/products/speakers/portable_speakers/soundlink_revolve.html

    I should clarify that I have the Soundlink Revolve +, which is a little bit bigger and has a handle.
    Last edited by UnderAGlassMoon; 10-29-2019 at 02:18 PM.
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  4. #4
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    We have the Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II and it sounds very good. Looks like a newer model might have replaced it.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    To me "Bluetooth speaker" = portable, low-fidelity, convenient.

    For portable high fidelity I'd always opt for headphones.
    Yes...but we want to be able to play music when we have visitors. Rio & I always carry good IEMs with us, but this is a but different as weíll be parking ourselves for 24 days and want, even when on our own, to feel like weíre together and not separated by noise isolating IEMs.

    My understanding is you can get a decent sounding speaker system in the $500-600 range. No, not my a Tetras, but serviceable for the purpose.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by JKL2000 View Post
    We have the Bose SoundLink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II and it sounds very good. Looks like a newer model might have replaced it.
    Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, while I know there are many who enjoy Bose, I donít. Not because they arenít good, but because they colour the sound pretty substantially, largely aiming for a warm tone that is very lovely...but Iím looking for neutral. I had a Bose sounddock at one point a decade or so ago and, while it did, indeed, sound very nice it was not truthful, if you know what I mean. And thatís not a criticism...itís simply a matter of taste.

    But thanks for chiming in; much appreciated.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by UnderAGlassMoon View Post
    This is what I have and I love it. Great sound and battery life. Not sure if it is small enough for you, however. .
    Again, thanks for the suggestion, but as much as I respect Bose, itís coloured sound isnít for me. But thanks, much appreciated. The size, though, is not a problem, as weíll be traveling heavy on this one...

    Iím wondering if anyone has heard Cambridge Audio, Audioengine or Marshall, to name three?
    John Kelman
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    Freelance writer/photographer

  8. #8
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    Yes...but we want to be able to play music when we have visitors.
    Taking a wild-ass guess here, but I'd wager your guests aren't as fidelity-conscious as you. Perhaps the Boomy Bose would be to their liking.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Taking a wild-ass guess here, but I'd wager your guests aren't as fidelity-conscious as you. Perhaps the Boomy Bose would be to their liking.
    I think Iíve narrowed it down to Klipsch, Marshall, Fender and possibly Cambridge Audio, with Klipsch looking like the winner so far.
    John Kelman
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  10. #10
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    The Marshall and Fender look way overpriced for what they are. The Klipsch One and Three don't look all that portable (the Groove does). The CA would be my first choice, based on what I see online. Depends I guess on how you plan to use it, I guess -- maybe portability isn't a factor. Tiny speakers can sound remarkably good these days.

  11. #11
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Just bought the Oontz Angle 3 Ultra from Amazon....$35 super cheap and it goes anywhere. Great sound for a small speaker and great at what it is meant for. Recommended.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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  12. #12
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    Have you looked at the Edifier S1000DB? Or, if these are too big/heavy, the R2000DB? These are full-featured, great-sounding for their classes, and of course offer proper stereo imaging.

    Another approach is to select a pair of small conventional speakers (or source a used pair locally), and also bring a small Class-A amp, like https://amzn.to/2NlWMWp. I use these amps all around my house to drive speakers connected to Echo devices, which is how I've re-purposed old bookshelf speakers like Cambridge Soundworks Ambiance and Definitive Technologies SM35, and how I do cheap whole-house background music.

    20W/ch may not sound like much, but with reasonably efficient speakers it's plenty for most kinds of listening.

  13. #13
    Banned Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Just bought the Oontz Angle 3 Ultra from Amazon....$35 super cheap and it goes anywhere. Great sound for a small speaker and great at what it is meant for. Recommended.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    I have an older one of those that I use to stream radio stations while I'm in the shower. Definitely not what John was looking for, but it's great for what I needed.

    edit: Mine's just the low-end Oontz Angle 3
    Last edited by Dave (in MA); 10-30-2019 at 02:24 PM.

  14. #14
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    If high-fidelity is the #2 or #3 consideration, I wouldn't even consider a single-speaker solution.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    The Marshall and Fender look way overpriced for what they are. The Klipsch One and Three don't look all that portable (the Groove does). The CA would be my first choice, based on what I see online. Depends I guess on how you plan to use it, I guess -- maybe portability isn't a factor. Tiny speakers can sound remarkably good these days.
    Actually, all of them are well reviewed and specs look good. Iím not too concerned with portability....as long as itís 10lb or under, weíre bringing enough luggage to handle something a bit on the larger side. Klipsch is currently my top pick, for a number of reasons.
    John Kelman
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  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    If high-fidelity is the #2 or #3 consideration, I wouldn't even consider a single-speaker solution.
    The Klipsch gets high ratings for sound, and is essentially a bi-amped 2.1 system in a single cabinet: two 2.25Ēfull range drivers and a 4.5Ē woofer. 56Hz-20KHz (@ -3db), so good range. 30W amp (50 peak), which will be fine for intended use. Weighs 8.5lb, and is about 13Ēx6Ē x 5Ē, so not too big. Price is in range, and itís going to largely be in the living room of the house weíre renting.

    So more and more Klipsch is looking good,

    Thanks everyone, for taking the time to post your thoughts, much appreciated.
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  17. #17
    Has anyone looked at JBL? At my local shop a few years ago, the Flip won hands down for clean reproduction of lossless audio files.

  18. #18
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    I have focused on having the best portable speakers for over 30 years. There is no confusion which is best.
    https://minirigs.co.uk/ Just check out the reviews...

    I suggest a 2.1 system (w/ their mini sub-woofer) if you can swing it but two Minrig III's would be fantastic by themselves.

    Stunning sound. I like that it can be wired or wireless (I prefer the FORMER). (Edited)
    Too many speakers only do wireless and that is a severe limitation . Wired always sounds better.
    Last edited by Gizmotron; 11-01-2019 at 04:25 PM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotron View Post
    I have focused on having the best portable speakers for over 30 years. There is no confusion which is best.
    https://minirigs.co.uk/ Just check out the reviews...

    I suggest a 2.1 system (w/ their mini sub-woofer) if you can swing it but two Minrig III's would be fantastic by themselves.

    Stunning sound. I like that it can be wired or wireless (I prefer the latter).
    Thanks for the tip,...now, to have a good look!
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotron View Post
    I have focused on having the best portable speakers for over 30 years. There is no confusion which is best.
    https://minirigs.co.uk/ Just check out the reviews...

    I suggest a 2.1 system (w/ their mini sub-woofer) if you can swing it but two Minrig III's would be fantastic by themselves.

    Stunning sound. I like that it can be wired or wireless (I prefer the FORMER). (Edited)
    Too many speakers only do wireless and that is a severe limitation . Wired always sounds better.
    FYI, I looked into them and was so impressed that I bought a pair of the MINIRIG 3s for about $525, including shipping (much cheaper than directly from the manufacturer). Iíll have them, if all goes well, before Rio & I go to Montrťal later this month to see countertenor Philippe Jaroussky (one of Rioís faves), so we can give Ďem a road test. They look like theyíll sound amazing and, unlike the Klipsch I was entertaining (which was true stereo, but a 2.1 system inside a single cabinet), we can spread them out on the fireplace mantle at the house weíre renting in Dingle next year (or in hotels since theyíre small and light enough to take with me for short trips to cover music events in Montrťal and/or Toronto).

    Getting them now will allow us to determine if we should buy the subs (Iíd be inclined to buy two to have a proper 2.2 system) and, from what Iíve read, chances are for our purpose that we may be able to get away without the subs...but if we do need them, Iíve plenty of time (and the third party sellerís price is also much better than at MINIRIG) to grab them before we head to Dingle next year.

    So thanks so much, man, I really appreciate the tip. And through a third party seller, the price was right in my budget window!
    Cheers!
    John
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by ProgFamily View Post
    Has anyone looked at JBL? At my local shop a few years ago, the Flip won hands down for clean reproduction of lossless audio files.
    There was a model I was looking at, but from what I could find out, I got the impression that they colour the sound with their own signature - different, but similar to Bose and why I didnít want them either. That isnít a judgement (the best pair of speakers for any one of us is the one that we each like the most, after all), just that Iím looking for speaker(s) that are more truthful and donít apply any kind of filtering/EQíing/whatever to change the sound, as I prefer (as is the case with my home system) a setup that simply reproduces the music as sent to it.

    But thanks for chiming in. Iíve now made a decision, but I do appreciate each and every one of you who took the time to try and help me out.
    Have a great weekend everyone!
    John
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
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  22. #22
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    I bought a pair of the MINIRIG 3s for about $525, including shipping
    Be sure to report back after your road test.
    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    unlike the Klipsch I was entertaining (which was true stereo, but a 2.1 system inside a single cabinet), we can spread them out on the fireplace mantle at the house
    Good idea, and essential to my way of thinking!

  23. #23
    Well, it might not be what you're looking for, but I use an Anker Soundcore bluetooth speaker regularly. Sounds fine to me, but I've never owned a "nice" stereo system, and I also have relatively mild tinnitus, so you may have different tastes than me.

    https://smile.amazon.com/Anker-Sound...s=music&sr=8-5

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Well, it might not be what you're looking for, but I use an Anker Soundcore bluetooth speaker regularly. Sounds fine to me, but I've never owned a "nice" stereo system, and I also have relatively mild tinnitus, so you may have different tastes than me.

    https://smile.amazon.com/Anker-Sound...s=music&sr=8-5
    Thanks. I’ve seen these,, but the deal for me is getting “the truth,” as best I can and speakers in this price range invariably “soup up” their sound through processing and compression, which may sound “good” to the ears (a subjective term if ever there was one!), so I’m by no means knocking them. But these kinds are not for me...largely because we do have a pretty kickass stereo. Now, I don’t expect these MINIRIGs to match my Tetra’s, but for the price and what I’ve read, I believe they’ll be quite neutral, thus reproducing what’s sent to them without adding any colour or signatures that the Ankers, at the lower end of the price range, and things like Bose, at an higher end, do.

    Again, not criticizing either, just that they’re not what I’m looking for when it comes to sound.

    But thanks for chiming in, much appreciated,
    Cheers!
    J
    John Kelman
    Senior Contributor, All About Jazz since 2004
    Freelance writer/photographer

  25. #25
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    FYI, I looked into them and was so impressed that I bought a pair of the MINIRIG 3s for about $525, including shipping (much cheaper than directly from the manufacturer). I’ll have them, if all goes well, before Rio & I go to Montrťal later this month to see countertenor Philippe Jaroussky (one of Rio’s faves), so we can give ‘em a road test. They look like they’ll sound amazing and, unlike the Klipsch I was entertaining (which was true stereo, but a 2.1 system inside a single cabinet), we can spread them out on the fireplace mantle at the house we’re renting in Dingle next year (or in hotels since they’re small and light enough to take with me for short trips to cover music events in Montrťal and/or Toronto).

    Getting them now will allow us to determine if we should buy the subs (I’d be inclined to buy two to have a proper 2.2 system) and, from what I’ve read, chances are for our purpose that we may be able to get away without the subs...but if we do need them, I’ve plenty of time (and the third party seller’s price is also much better than at MINIRIG) to grab them before we head to Dingle next year.

    So thanks so much, man, I really appreciate the tip. And through a third party seller, the price was right in my budget window!
    Cheers!
    John
    Yay!
    I am pleased that they look like a good fit, John.
    Methinks you will love them!

    The 2.2 set-up is a thing of wonder. Very, very impressive.

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